Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

Denim aprons

For Christmas this year, I sewed my mother-in-law and father-in-law personalized denim aprons!

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Using a (store bought) apron as a guide, I created a pattern from which I created these aprons.  My mother-in-law’s came first: I machine-embroidered it with a lovely design from Embroidery Library in a thread color that I thought she would like.  The apron and pockets are lined with a coordinating cotton print, and I added ruffles at the top of the “neckline” and edging the pockets.

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My father-in-law’s apron is wider at the top, and is lined with a golf-ball-and-tee patterned fabric.  On the front of his apron, I machine-embroidered a golf bag (the design was pre-loaded on my machine) using colors of his favorite university teams.  Instead of tying behind his neck, the strap is adjustable using a little buckle.

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I’m pleased with how well these aprons turned out, since I made up the pattern myself!

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Shell bag

Speaking of beach-themed projects (because who doesn’t want to think about a little warmth in the middle of winter, right?), I made this bag for shelling right before we left for our Christmas vacation in Florida.

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I combined ideas that I’d seen in a few internet searches to create this bag: I’m still calling it a prototype, because there are things I would change about it in future iterations, most notably, I will shorten the bag’s length, and I’ll change the order in which I construct it.

However, I liked that I made a wrist strap to hold it rather than a shoulder or cross-body style (I saw a number of these as I was on the beach, as well as online), because it was just right for the way I carry shells.  I also liked that it doesn’t have a closure at the top, because I didn’t want to mess around with trying to open it if I had a handful of shells to put inside!


This bag turned out to be great for collecting shells, and I came home with quite a delightful haul!

I’ll be making a couple more of these bags with the remaining netting I have on hand so that my kids each have their own for the next time we go to the beach!


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Ever since I made my first Joni dress (from Tilly and the Buttons’ Stretch <– affiliate link), I knew that I wanted to make another!  In fact, I purchased fabric for to make this dress last May, but I didn’t end up cutting it out until right before my ankle surgery in September.  It was one of the projects I was able to finish soon after my surgery because I had it prepped!

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However, the fabric and the sleeve style I had chosen weren’t really quite right for winter-in-Maryland, and so I thought I might have to wait until spring to actually wear it!  And then I realized we were going to the BEACH for Christmas!

This dress was perfect for a Christmas Eve church service in a more tropical locale, and my sweet Husband helped me take photos with the Gulf of Mexico as the backdrop.  So pretty!

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The sleeves are altered to flutter as per a tutorial in the book.  I love how I can make the same basic dress look so different by changing the fabric and the sleeves!



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I find it so satisfying to use up my scraps of fabric.

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I have the tendency to save (hoard?) every single little scrap, because I always end up using them in some way or another.   One of those ways is to make little zipper pouches like these.

These pouches are special– they are snack pouches: lined with waterproof, food safe fabric (I got mine from THIS Etsy shop a couple years ago) so that my kids can use them in their lunch bags.  We use them for crackers, carrots, grapes, nuts, anything that isn’t too wet (e.g. cucumber).  I made a set when I first got the food-safe fabric, and they have lasted for over two years!

We throw them into the washing machine with the laundry to clean them, and we can use them again and again.

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A while ago, I was given a largish bag of zippers, and I’ve had a good time matching up the colors with scraps of cotton prints from my scrap bin:

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These bags start with 4″x6″ rectangles of my outer cotton fabric and inner food-safe fabric.  I’m starting to remember to cut these rectangles right when I’m cutting out other projects so that they’re ready to go.

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I actually got these bags all cut out and matched with zippers right before my ankle surgery, so that I could have a quick finish on a project once I was able to hobble into my craft studio after a bit of recovery time.

…and that day has come!  I batch-sewed these up; I used white thread for everything to make it straightforward and faster.

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And I even got to use my fancy fabric clips to hold the pieces together as I was sewing them up!


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A while back, I found this coral stripe knit at a very, very good price, so I purchased 2 yards of it, knowing that I have a lot of patterns for knits that I want to sew.  At the top of my mind was the Blank Slate Shoreline Boatneck— I have seen so many gorgeous versions of this, I’ve had the pattern for a while now, and I finally wanted to give it a shot myself!

I chose the short-sleeved tunic version for this sew; I could envision wearing it with black leggings and a denim jacket for fall weather…and in the end, it came out just like I imagined it, and I’m really pleased!

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This was one of several patterns and projects that I cut out in preparation for my ankle surgery– I knew that after my surgery, it would be quite a while before I could stand for long periods of time to do the cutting part of these projects.  I decided to get some projects lined up ahead of time so that I could have the satisfaction of getting back into the swing of being creative as soon as I could hobble into my craft studio.

…And now you get to see photos of me in my lovely and stylish boot 😉 (at the time of these photos, I was able to get around with just one crutch the help me out… it’s just out of the frame of the photo!)

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In the end, I know that this particular fabric isn’t the best color on me without a jacket layered over it, but I’m delighted in the fit and the shape of the Shoreline.  I think this will be the first of many to come, especially since there are so many options and variations with the pattern, and even more with the hack pack!

Photo Nov 15, 12 23 21 PM

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We have continued an inadvertent “tradition” of having my son in a green costume each year!  He was Prince James, then Pascal, and then Peter Pan last year… and he’s the Green Ninja this year! (2019 costume overview post HERE)


Like the Nya costume, the base patterns for Lloyd’s pants and tunic were the Blank Slate Snuggle PJ pants and Citronille Emile bathrobe pattern, respectively.  The pants were a basic modification: leave off the cuffs and lengthen the legs to compensate.  The tunic top was a different story, haha!

Because I really, really love to copy every detail that I possibly can, I convinced Husband to help me to drastically modify the bathrobe pattern to capture that really handsome-looking triangular cross-over that Lloyd’s minifig wears.  I would have tried to do it myself, but I wasn’t able to stand up long enough to make large-scale changes to a pattern like that… so I am very thankful that Husband agreed to help me!  I think he did a great job.

We cut black trim on the bias so that it would easily go around the curved parts of the modified front (mostly the flap that crosses under), and I also added black trim at the cuffs and hem.  We added snaps at the corner of the triangle, the neckline, and one snap at the hem to keep the tunic hanging properly.


I wanted to make actual frog closures for Lloyd’s tunic, but when it came down to it, I didn’t have the right cord on hand.  Instead, I raided my button stash and found some decorative gold buttons that had been given to me, as well as a little scrap of metallic gold trim that was just right.  I attached one end simply by stitching the braid and the button to the tunic, and on the other end, I stitched the button to the braid and then stitched a snap to sandwich the braid.


We made the gold dragon designs the same way as for Nya’s costume–hand drawn, scanned, adjusted in Silhouette Studio, and then cut with my Cameo 3; I especially enjoyed getting the curled dragon on Lloyd’s back just right…but then we decided that it would be best to mirror it, so that it would connect more logically to the dragon head on the front.

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Again, we changed out the not-really-a-real-character symbol printed on the minifig for Lloyd’s dragon symbol from an earlier incarnation of his outfit on the show.  It is also cut from gold vinyl and applied onto a circle we cut from a scrap of the same dark green fabric as his head tie and belt.


The belt and head tie were made from fabric left from his Prince James costume, but we didn’t have enough for the leg ties.  We had a scrap of an old dark green t-shirt that was a close match in color, so we used that for the leg ties instead.  We ended up cutting out his hood from a women’s t-shirt, because I couldn’t find any other knit that was a good match!  It was nice and soft, but was a bit more prone to stretching out.


Action shot!


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Let’s talk about Nya!  (2019 costume overview post HERE)


When we were starting to plan these costumes, I started looking at commercial patterns that I could use to construct them.  As I looked, I wasn’t really finding exactly what I wanted, and I also knew that I had a great PJ pants pattern that I can make in about an hour that I’d use for the bottoms.  Husband and I were sitting together discussing the top, and our daughter walked into the room wearing her bathrobe.  Husband instantly made the connection, and we realized that the Citronille Emile bathrobe pattern would be just the right basic shape!

We ended up making the size 4 pattern that I’d made for her way back in 2015: we simply lengthened the sleeves and shortened the hem length to make it into a top.  I added black cuffs, added a black band at the hem, and used black fabric as the facing (in the original pattern, you’d use the same as the main garment).  In the unaltered pattern, the facing is only supposed to show around the neck, but I tacked it open at the hem as well, to show the black border all the way down the front.  I added two hooks-and-eyes to help hold it closed under the belt.

The aqua belt, head tie, and leg ties were all made from some scrap aqua knit I had on hand.  I was so excited when I discovered that it was exactly the right color– and my daughter already had an aqua shirt that was almost a perfect match to wear underneath.  I was really excited to find inexpensive dark red knit for the hood that was a nearly perfect match the the woven we’d bought for the main costume pieces.

Probably the most time-intensive parts of these costumes were the gold vinyl dragon designs.  I spent some time looking online for images or stencils that I could adapt for my purposes, but in the end, I decided that it would be easier–and more accurate– to draw them myself.

I first sketched them in pencil:

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and then I colored each one in with black marker…

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This design is for Lloyd’s back, but you get the idea!

…so that I could scan them as .jpgs and trace them in the Silhouette Studio software.  I spent a lot of time editing points, smoothing edges, and fine-tuning the shape, since we connected the dragon pieces from front to back.  Since I could only cut 12″x12″ areas of vinyl at a time, I disguised the joins by making them look like scales.


I asked for it…I told her to look at me like a ninja…haha!



We cut the dragons on my Cameo 3 from Cricut vinyl that I got on a very good sale; we deliberately did not use the iron-on (HTV), which was about 3 times the price (after all, these are just costumes…)… but it would have worked much better.  I knew I wasn’t using the appropriate kind of vinyl, but I was dismayed at how poorly this vinyl stuck to fabric.  At the end of a day of wearing these costumes to school, it was definitely and obviously peeling off.

If we ever have the kids wear these costumes again, it would not be hard to re-cut these designs (now that I have them!) from high-quality HTV and replace the peeling vinyl.

On Nya’s back, we decided to use her symbol, rather than the unidentified character that appears on the 2019 Legacy minifig (see Lloyd’s post for a reference photo!).  I cut it from the same gold vinyl and applied it to a circle cut from a scrap of matching aqua woven.  I used fusible web to attach the circle to the top’s back.  I didn’t have any energy left to satin-stitch the edge!


Now, how about some action shots?!




sassy Nya, giving Lord Garmadon a “look”


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As you may have guessed from my son’s birthday party posts this past summer, he and my daughter are Lego-crazy, and especially Ninjago-obsessed.  So this year, it was not a hard decision for them to choose Lloyd and Nya for their costumes!


And as usual, I went crazy with the details.  I love cosplay, and each year, these costumes are exactly the excuse I need to give it a try.  If you’re familiar with Ninjago, there have been at least nine seasons of the show, with different outfits for the ninja in each one– and then there are different Lego sets with different outfits for the ninja!  In order to limit ourselves, I decided to create costumes that are modeled after minifigs that my son owns: we chose to use the 2019 Legacy versions of Lloyd and Nya.  (It turned out that this was a very good idea, since I found it hard to find good images of the backs of minifigs online!). In future posts, I’ll show the minifigs with the costumes so you can see how we copied/adapted the details!


I am especially proud of these costumes this year, since I am recovering from ankle surgery, and I just started bearing weight on that leg last week (so I’m still on crutches).  It’s also because of that pesky surgery that Husband and I don’t have costumes this year… I love dressing up, but these costumes were almost more than I could handle, so I’m glad we made the decision not to even try for ours The vast majority of these costumes were completed within the past two weeks.  Husband and I worked together to create them– Husband was awesome at doing all of the cutting (since I couldn’t stand to do it), helping with the reengineering of the tunic for Lloyd (more about that in a later post), and on top of all of it, fetching and carrying for me so that I could work on them as much as possible.


we have aqua leg ties for Nya; I just forgot to put them on for this photo!

Another thing I’m proud of is how little we spent (at least in actual money– I don’t even want to consider the cost in hours!): the main fabrics (green and dark red cotton/poly wovens, and the dark red knit) for both costumes were approximately $15 total, and the rest of the fabrics were ones we had on hand (either scraps or fabrics that had been handed down to me in the past).  We bought vinyl for the dragon details, which was about $4, and I used a $3 green t-shirt to make Lloyd’s ninja hood.  I had all the right colors of thread on hand already (amazing!), as well as the snaps, hooks and eyes, etc.  So the total we spent on materials was around $20!  Husband also bought their light-up “energy blades” (yes, they are technically lightsabers, but for this costume, they’re energy blades, ok?) for safety after dark, but since they will play with them after Halloween, I’m not counting them 😉


I’m going to write a post for each of the costumes, showing them in more detail, but I wanted to include some basic information here:

pants pattern: slightly modified Blank Slate Snuggle PJs (I lengthened the legs and left off the cuffs.  I really love this pattern, it is a real TNT for me.)

jacket pattern: modified Citronille Emile (bathrobe) pattern (modifications will be covered in subsequent posts; they were extensive for Lloyd!)

hood pattern: DIY Balaclava freebie pattern/tutorial from Make It & Love It

dragon vinyl designs: I sketched them myself, adapting the images printed on the minifigs.  I scanned them as .jpgs and then used Silhouette Studio to turn them into cut files.  I did a LOT of point-editing work, and with the invaluable help of Husband, we created cut files that were useable on an actual human.




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I mentioned in a recent blog post that I’ve been on the lookout for a better women’s pajama pants pattern.  Well, I think I’ve found one!

The Blank Slate Peppermint Pajamas are fantastic.  I had the opportunity to test the pajama shorts pattern** right before my ankle surgery, and I absolutely love how they turned out.

**The pattern includes a pants-length version (with a cuff!) and a great, comfy knit shirt with two raglan sleeve lengths!  I just didn’t have the opportunity to sew it all before being of commission for several weeks.


The shorts are comfortable and super straightforward to sew.  And I only needed a yard of fabric to whip them up!

They have an elastic waist and pockets.  What more could you want from a pair of PJ shorts?


You can be sure that I will be making more of these as soon as I’m back in the game.  I am certainly enjoying the ones I already have!  I think this is going to become one of my tried-and-true favorite patterns.



Be sure to check out the pattern— not only are there shorts and pants options, but there’s a coordinating raglan-sleeve shirt pattern included for knit fabric!

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Last Christmas, Husband and I decided that V should “inherit” my American Girl doll that I’d had when I was younger.  She was delighted, and I really enjoyed seeing all of my special little doll clothes and accessories out and being enjoyed again.

One thing that I really felt strongly about, though, was having a good way to store the doll’s dresses.  When I was younger, the dresses must have stayed in a pile or gathered under the little garment bag I had as part of the doll’s traveling kit.  It made it hard to play with them, and so I asked Husband if he could help… and of course, he did!

We browsed for some ideas, and somewhere on Pinterest we saw an idea that we both liked– it was straightforward and we had scrap wood on hand.  Husband purchased a dowel, and put this cute clothing rack together really quickly!


Originally, we had intended to paint it, but we think it looks nice as-is.  It’s stable without being bulky, and I love how it keeps the outfits tidy and unwrinkled.  It’s also tall enough that my daughter can store more accessories on the floor under the hanging clothes.


I noticed, however, that the dresses collected dust really easily.  (Our house always seems so dusty, no matter how frequently we change our filters!)  It really got to me the other day, and so I went down to my craft studio and drafted up this fabric cover for the rack.


There are main panels connected with a top panel (so that the design of the fabric could be upright on both sides), and end panels that flare to fit the shape of the clothing rack.



I added a handle on top so that my daughter can easily pull the cover off whenever she’s ready to play with her doll.


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I think it’s working out really well!


The cover is easily vacuumed or washable, and it keeps the dresses ready for playing!

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